Back off


The latest, in the ongoing pursuit of this government to compile complete information on the lives of the people, is the news that the government is compiling a database to track and store the international travel records of millions of Britons.

Names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details of travelers will be stored for up to ten years. The e-Borders scheme covers flights, ferries and rail journeys. Officials hope that by the end of next year, 95% of the 250m annual passenger movements will be logged in the database.

This is the type of action that the Lords cross-party constitutional affairs committee recently warned against when condemning the government for risking undermining the fundamental relationship between the state and citizens. If you ask me, this line was well and truly crossed a long time back. The same report claimed that “many of these surveillance practices are unknown to most people and their potential consequences are not fully appreciated". Perhaps, though much of this gets a fair few column inches in the popular press and given the near-unanimous popular discontent over the ID cards, it cannot be said that people are unaware that their liberties are being usurped.

As with all fights for freedom against injustice, a few good souls will have to lead the rest. The campaigners and supporters of NO2ID, Privacy International and Liberty have clearly marked their territory as being at the vanguard in the counteroffensive against the government’s assaults upon our liberties. Their fights clearly have the support of the vast majority of individuals living in this country.

This government’s utilization of the technology of totalitarianism must not prevail; the state has no business watching us. They say that it is for our protection and security, but I am surly not alone in not wanting Jacqui Smith and the plethora of taxpayer funded good for nothing officials watching my back.